Recently, we told you the story of Callie. Abandoned in a frozen van, Callie was left for dead until the ASPCA and NYPD rescued her. While we were thrilled to report that Callie’s story had a happy ending (she was adopted by the same police officer who found her), it got us thinking about animal abandonment. Though not discussed as often as other, more overt forms of animal cruelty, abandonment is a serious issue. To help understand what abandonment is, how it’s dealt with, and what you can do to help, we’ve answered some of the most Frequently Asked Questions.
What Is Animal Abandonment?
Abandonment laws differ by state, but generally speaking, abandonment happens when an owner or temporary caretaker of an animal leaves that animal in a public or private place (inside or outside) without intending to return for it and without making provision for its continued care.
How Many Animals Are Abandoned Each Year?
Because there is no national reporting requirement for animal abuse, there is no way to track the number of abandoned animals each year. However, we do know 6-8 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year. This number includes animals abandoned on the street (found animals) and animals seized after private abandonment in homes or apartments.
Is Animal Abandonment A Crime?
Most states have laws making abandonment of an animal unlawful. It is sometimes a component of cruelty laws, though some states like New York treat it as a separate offense. In New York, it is a Class A misdemeanor.
What Are the Consequences for Animal Abandonment?
Consequences vary nationwide. In New York, it is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. Visit our complete list of animal abandonment laws by state. If an abandoned animal is found to be sick, injured or dead, cruelty charges may also be appropriate. In these circumstances, forensic veterinary work may be helpful.
How Are Abandonment Laws Enforced?
Due to the nature of the crime, it is often difficult to identify and locate the owner or caretaker who has abandoned the animal. ID tags and microchips can sometimes help identify the responsibility party. Unfortunately, there are many instances where owners cannot readily be found and charged for abandonment.
What Can I Do To Help?
If you suspect animal abandonment, contact the police or appropriate law enforcement agency in your area. Visit our Fight Cruelty Page for a list of contacts in each state.
We don’t know about you, but the start of tax season makes us a little tense. However, we have good news—you can actually help animals while filing your taxes this year!
To participate, sign up at We-Care.com, and the ASPCA will automatically receive a donation when you file with TurboTax—at no cost to you. A donation of 8.5% is made for each TurboTax Online product and $0.50 for each TurboTax Online Federal Free Edition product.
April 15 is closer than you think! So get a jumpstart on your taxes—and make a difference for countless animals.
As many of you know, earlier this week, the ASPCA joined local authorities to remove more than 40 dogs, including Chihuahuas and blood hounds, from a large, substandard breeding facility—also referred to as a puppy mill—in Nancy, Kentucky. Many of the dogs have untreated medical conditions, and are being cared for by a team of veterinarians and responders at a temporary facility, set up by the ASPCA and the Kentucky Humane Society, in Louisville.
The dogs are safe now. With temperatures dropping rapidly across the country, it was just in time. These dogs will never again suffer in extreme cold without access to food or shelter. They’ll never be stacked in tiny cages. And they’ll never be forced to breed.
Right now, the ASPCA is providing shelter, veterinary care, healthy food and much-needed attention and affection to the rescued dogs. Our work is far from over.
Please take a moment to watch and share our video. You’ll see some of the dogs we rescued, as well as the conditions these dogs were forced to endure.
We all know 2013 was a banner one for animals on the internet. From Instagram to YouTube, there were tons of places for them to let loose. But this year wasn’t too shabby for cats and dogs at the ASPCA, either. They were the real winners, as always, and their lives just got better and better under our watch. Check out seven reasons why cats and dogs had an epic time of it at the ASPCA in 2013.